Movies - TV
Bringing In A New Director Cost Tombstone A Sizeable Chunk Of Its Crew
The 1990s saw the rebirth of the Western genre with “Dances with Wolves” and “Unforgiven” each winning Best Picture. Another film, while not critically acclaimed, is one of the most fondly remembered Westerns of the decade: 1993’s “Tombstone,” which was to be screenwriter Kevin Jarre’s directorial debut before a replacement was brought on that cost a significant number of crew members.
“Tombstone” had a tumultuous start as it would compete with another film covering the same subject, “Wyatt Earp”; however, the project received funding after Kurt Russell joined the cast. The money came with a stipulation as Disney wanted the movie ready in time for Christmas — this added pressure and Jarre’s inexperience would lead to the nascent director being let go.
Despite Jarre’s departure from the film, the actors were determined to see the project finished, with Powers Boothe explaining, “We had all turned down other projects. So when it came down that they were pulling the plug, we all agreed, ‘Let’s do the damn movie.’” George P. Cosmatos stepped in as director, though not everyone was eager about his arrival.
Entertainment Weekly described Cosmatos as a “demanding” director, and while the stress of finishing the movie is understandable, his behavior led to 17 crew members quitting or being let go. Cosmatos and the crew managed to finish production on schedule, thanks to Russell’s off-screen help, and the film became a success but departed from Jarre’s vision for “Tombstone.”